Yasiel Balaguer, who defected from Cuba in November in order to become a free agent and eventually sign with an MLB team, will hold his first workout today for the Marlins, according to Michael Miller of the Miami New Times.
Balaguer’s representatives have been touting the 18-year-old outfielder as an elite prospect and various media outlets have eaten that up, but Baseball America editor-in-chief John Manuel spoke to scouts who described him as having “average tools across the board with one important below-average tool, his bat.”
Jose Iglesias received $8.25 million from the Red Sox and Noel Arguelles received $7 million from the Royals after defecting from Cuba last year, but it sounds like Balaguer is unlikely to approach those marks.
The New York Yankees have traded third baseman Chase Headley and pitcher Bryan Mitchell to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Jabari Blash. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report the trade. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report that Blash was coming back in return.
Headley, a third baseman, hit .273/.352/.406 for the Yankees last year. He, of course, played for the Padres from 2007 through the middle of 2014, when he was dealt to New York. Mitchell has pitched 48 games for the Yankees, most from the pen, over four seasons, with an ERA of 4.94 in 98.1 innings. He doesn’t strike out many and he walks a lot. He throws hard.
Blash, an outfielder, has hit .200/.323/.336 with eight homers in 279 big league plate appearances. Blash has shown a lot of power potential in the minors, but has not yet put it together in the bigs. Given what the Yankees have in their outfield at the moment, he’s going to be organizational depth or, perhaps, a chit in a future trade.
This would seem to be an exercise in salary clearing by the Yankees in anticipation of another move, as it takes about $13 million off of their payroll. Which is about how much was added to their payroll for 2018 in the Giancarlo Stanton deal. That could get Todd Frazier back for them, perhaps. Or it could help them retain CC Sabathia or go after another starting pitcher. The club likewise maintains an interest in getting under the $197 million payroll threshold which would trigger yet another year of 50% luxury tax payments for the Yankees.